ALONGSIDE the blaze of publicity for the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5c, Apple also announced it is to release its latest operating system iOS 7 for mobile devices.
While some of the headline-grabbing features of iOS 7 will only be available on the new iPhones, like the fingerprint ID function, there are many hidden tweaks and new features for older devices.
Like previous iOS updates, however, owners of older devices will find themselves being left behind as their iPhones and iPads are denied access some of the new features.
Some of this is due to the limitations of the hardware on older devices, while other features that will be left out are harder to explain.
*Here are some of the more hidden functions that will be unlocked by iOS 7.
1. Light up your life
While many competing devices have the capacity to function as torches for some time, iPhone users have had to rely on third party Apps to help them search for their keys or find the door lock in the dark.
However, with iOS 7 Apple is finally introducing a torch facility as a standard feature to the iPhone.
At the touch of a button, users will be able to turn on the LED flash on the back of the phone. The flashlight button can be accessed through the new control centre.
2. Control Centre
An all new control centre – just swipe upwards on any screen and a new pane will appear allowing you to control Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, switch on Airplane mode, adjust the brightness of the screen and play or skip music.
The control centre can even be accessed from the locked screen.
3. Do not disturb
For those who like to switch off once in a while, but potentially also a welcome change for anyone irritated by those who refuse to turn their phone off while at the cinema or theatre. While the Do Not Disturb function is present in iOS 6, it was not obvious. Buried in the settings menu, it was probably greatly underused or overlooked by many.
In iOS 7, Apple has moved the Do Not Disturb switch to the Control Centre, meaning it can be accessed and switched on far more easily.
Just touch the little half moon icon and it will leave you free from being pestered by emails, messages and phone calls.
Schedules can also be set up through the Notifications setting menu, along with exceptions that will allow some calls from important contacts get through.
4. A new way to access search
The ability to search on the iPhone and iPad has been around for a while, however, iOS 7 will introduce a new way of accessing it.
Simply swiping down on the homescreen will open a search box and the keyboard, allowing you to search without having to swipe to a dedicated screen as in previous versions of the software.
5. Swipe up to close Apps
Like in previous versions of iOS, double clicking the home button at the bottom of the phone will show all of the Apps that are currently open.
Simply swipe up on the screen to close the app.
6. Level out your life
The Compass App that has been a feature of the iPhone for some time now comes with an added little extra – a spirit level. Never have wonky pictures or squint shelves again.
Alternatively use it to arrange the items on your desk into a perfect geometric pattern.
7. Let Apple remember your passwords for you
Remembering the multitude of account logins and passwords for the internet can be difficult.
iOS 7 will allow users to store passwords, account names and even credit card numbers in the iCloud and will then automatically fill them in when signing in to a website or online shop.
It will also sync across other devices running iOS 7 and the new desktop operating system OS X Mavericks.
Apple insists the passwords will be encrypted to ensure their security.
8. See the world in widescreen
For those with an iPhone 4s or later, the camera App will include a new Panoramic format for taking pictures.
Photos will also be organised in new ways, allowing them to be grouped by date, location and collections.
9. Focus using volume
Another neat hidden feature in the camera App will allow users to focus without having to tap the screen. Simply hold down the volume down button for a second and the iPhone will autofocus on the area inside the square.
Press the volume up button and take a picture, just like a real camera.
10. Share with friends
Sharing photographs, videos, contacts and documents on the iPhone has been a frustrating experience that usually required sending a text or email.
For people in the same room, however, this can feel unnecessary. Even devices before the advent of the smartphone were able to share pictures and contacts via Bluetooth.
So Apple has finally caught up with the modern world by offering a new feature called AirDrop, which will use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to share media with people nearby.
Inexplicably it will only be available on devices newer than the iPhone 5 or fourth generation iPads, leaving owners of older devices with no option but to rely on third party Apps or email.
11. iTunes Radio
This feature will only be available to users in the US to begin with and there is no timescale of when it will be rolled out to other countries.
iTunes Radio will allow users to stream radio stations on their iPhone and iPad, along with other Apple devices. Users can curate the music based on preferred artists, songs and genres.
Apple claims iTunes Radio will learn users preferences, tweaking the music and stations it offers according to what they have listened to in the past.
Listeners will also be subjected to regular advertising.